starting tomatoes from seed is not only cost effective but also yields healthy, tasty, and fresh produce.
So, if you want to try your hand at growing tomato from seeds you should consider transplanting your tomato plants to help your little tomato seedlings develop a healthy stem and root system.
Now you might be wondering when to transplant tomato seedlings from seed tray into bigger pots or garden.
Transplant your tomatoes from seed tray into their second (bigger) pots when they are 2.5-4 inches tall and have a set of true leaves or 2 to 3 pairs of leaves. Transplant them in the garden when they are around 10 inches tall to ensure your seedlings have a strong root system. a good rule of thumb is to transplant when your tomato seedlings are 3 times the height of its pot.
Keep reading this post to learn more specifically about when to transplant tomato seedlings, how big should tomato seedlings be before transplanting and step-by-step instructions on how to do it, and information on how to care for your tomato plants afterwards.
Why you should be transplanting your tomato seedlings
- The growing season is usually not long enough to grow tomatoes from seeds completely outdoors.
- It helps your tomato plants develop a healthy root system
- It can help adjust your plants to life outdoors
- You can grow strong tomato plants via competition
- You can increase your tomato harvest
What should you do before transplant tomato seedlings?
Depending on where you live, it might not be possible to grow tomatoes from seeds completely outdoors. It won’t be warm enough for the plants to grow.
That is why many gardeners choose to start seeds in a seed starter kit or put them under seedling grow light.
They can grow a much greater number of plants this way and you can better control the conditions in which your plants grow.
Another way that people grow tomato plants from seeds before transplanting them to garden is sowing many seeds in one pot to foster a competitive environment.
If you start many seeds in one pot together, you know that the ones that grow tall are the strongest and most successful.
Although it might seem like a waste of seeds because you have to cut back the smaller and less successful seedlings, it does grow strong plants that will produce good tomatoes.
Regardless of the seed starting method you use, the seed starter kit or the one pot starter, you need to transplant the seedlings in order to get some tomatoes.
when to transplant tomato seedlings?
Transplanting tomato seedlings is very similar to transplanting other plants. This is the process of planting seeds or seedlings and repotting them when they grow too large.
Most seedlings develop a root system from whatever part for the plant that is under the soil.
Generally, you should plan to sow seeds 6 to 8 weeks before you plan to plant them outdoors. The specific time that you should transplant your tomato seedlings will depend on the last frost date of your home region. A good rule of thumb for transplanting seedlings to the garden outdoors, is to wait until the temperature reaches an average of 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
You should also try to harden your tomato seedlings to the outside environment before you transplant them into the garden.
Without hardening the tomato seedlings, they are much more susceptible to issues like sun burning, wilting, windburn, and breakage.
The process of slowly introducing them to an outdoor environment will toughen them up and better equip them for life outside.
To harden your tomato seedlings, follow these steps:
how big should tomato seedlings be before transplanting?
When transplanting seedlings, you have to do it when they are the right size.
If you wait too long, they will grow too large for the pot they are in and their roots will start to grow to the very edge of the container. This can lead to yellowing of the leaves when they are full grown.
Your tomato seedlings should be between 2-4 inches before you transplant them from seed tray into a larger pot, or if the weather permits, outside in the garden. If you want to be extra careful about helping tomato seedlings prepare for life in the garden, you can transplant twice.
They require a well-developed root system and they might not always have one when they are just 2 inches tall.
You should transplant your tomato seedlings in a larger pot when they reach 2 to 4 inches and then when they grow to 10 inches or so, they transplant them again into the garden.
how to transplant tomato seedlings to bigger pot?
If you started your seeds in a seed starter kit or a seed tray, you will likely need to transplant them into a larger pot before they can go into the garden. This will ensure that they have a healthy root system before going outside.
When your seedlings are ready to go a larger pot, follow these steps to successfully give them a new home:
When they grow larger in their new pots, you can leave them in the pots for the season (if it is big enough) and harvest tomatoes that way.
Or, you can transplant them a second time into the garden if you have the space, soil, and right sunlight.
How to transplant tomato seedlings to the garden?
So, you’re finally ready to plant the tomato seedlings outdoors. make sure that you’ve hardened them so they can tolerate 6-8 hours of sun and sometimes harsh outdoor environments.
When you are ready, try to pick a day that is overcast and slightly cooler than normal for transplanting to the garden. This will help not to stress out the tomato seedlings.
Follow these steps to transplant your seedlings to the garden:
How do you care for tomato seedlings after transplanting them into the garden?
Now that you have planted the seedlings into the garden, they need lots of care. Look after them just as you did before transplanting and monitor how they handle life outdoors.
Here are some tips to make sure that you get the most out of your plants:
Regardless of the method you use (transplanting once or twice), mother nature is very resilient and forgiving.
As long as you care for your tomato seedlings and give them what they need, you will get some tomatoes. Monitor their progress and keep them happy. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
Abbey is a freelance content writer and science journalist. She graduated with a bachelor of science in biology and psychology and has been writing ever since. She specializes in topics related to biology, psychology, environmental science, and health subjects. In her free time, she gardens as much as she can; one day hoping to grow all of her own food.
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